Wednesday, April 8, 2015

No good deed

goes unpunished. Isn't that the way the saying is supposed to go?

Well, let's just say that in my past, and especially over the past couple of years, that's
pretty much been my mantra. Not that this stopped me from trying to fix things. And people. And situations. Sometimes all three lumped together at the same time.

Because that's what I do. I'm a fixer. And in 58 years of living I haven't learned that while some things may be able to be fixed, very few situations can be, and almost no people. Okay, let's be realistic. No people. You can't fix people. Most of the time you can't even help them fix themselves.

And it's not like I'm Pollyanna. I don't bop around with my head wrapped in candy floss thinking everyone is practically perfect, just needing one little tap on the head from my magic wand to make everything better.

 (Some people mix metaphors. I like to mix fictional character references.)

But I digress. Shocking, isn't it? I'm usually so blunt and to the point in these musings.

The point is, I can't help trying to help. And since I can't do much physically these days, I have to get creative. So I'm delighted when a friend drops into my lap a positive, concrete thing to do, something that I can easily accomplish that will also be a great help.  This happened recently:

A dear friend of mine has run out time.  No more trials, no more chemo.  He’s reached a place – perhaps not acceptance, but nearby – but the thing is, my friend has written some beautiful poetry that his family would like published. I happen to know (or thought I did) the name of a publisher in the next town who had a reputation for a quick turnaround of self published projects.

Nuff said. I would take his project to the publisher and help see it through.  I could help. Really.

Then things got interesting.

I flipped through the phone book (yes some of us Luddites still do that) and looked under publishing. Called a number listed, talk to a very nice man about the project, and made an appointment for the next day.

About 10 minutes into my face-to-face conversation with the very nice man I realized that this was not the self-publishing company of my memory. Apparently there are two publishing companies in this small town. Fortunately, the very nice man (let’s call him Andy, mostly because that’s his name,) had helped people with projects like this before and understood the need for a quick turnaround.

 There were sailing pictures and model boats on all the walls, and a nautical theme throughout the office. Suddenly the name Mariner Media made sense. And of course, in one of those crazy island coincidences Andy had sailed to Cuttyhunk Island many times in his youth. He'd even read my island memoir, and liked it. We talked about what I was doing now, and he asked if I had an illustrator. I replied that I didn't need one for the 'tween novels but I'd been looking for one for a series of silly children's sea poems that had been knocking around in a drawer (literally) for 10 years.

Andy might have an illustrator. He’d like to see a poem or two.

Within two days I'd sent him the poems, he called me in to look at some illustrations, and I sat down and signed a contract for the book. Working title, Washed Up in the Waves.

A good deed. Done not to fix, but out of love. No expectations. 
Not only not punished, but doubly rewarded. 

Damn. 

I would like to believe that if I believed in such things, this would be the sort of thing I would believe in. 

I guess that day, everybody did the best they could with what they had to work with that day. 

Let’s keep it up.